Angered by the treatment of Catholics in England, Guy Fawkes and a small group of conspirators developed a plot to blow-up the Houses of Parliament and kill the Protestant King James I in the process. The conspirators stored 36 barrels of gunpowder in a cellar, just under the House of Lords and planned to take action at the Opening of Parliament scheduled for November 5th. A warning letter, however, reached the King, and Guy Fawkes was caught red-handed guarding the barrels of gunpowder. Fawkes was convicted, hung, drawn and quartered, and the King ordered a day of celebration and Thanksgiving. Today, the cellars are still ceremonially searched before the State Opening of Parliament, and Guy Fawkes Night is celebrated every November 5th with elaborate bonfires and fireworks.
This London shop dates back to 1567 and is considered to be the oldest shop in central London, surviving both the Great Fire of 1666 and The Blitz. Although the site claims to be the inspiration for Dickens’ fourth novel The Old Curuiosity Shop (1840-1841), there is no evidence to support the claim. The shop’s name was actually added shortly after the novel was published, and it is likely that the owner was connecting the shop to Dickens’ success and fame. Today, the shop carries unique designer fashion and footwear.
- The Old Curiosity Shop
- 13/14 Portsmouth Street, WC2A 2ES
Originally known as the ‘Devil’s Tavern’, this historic public house was once a notorious haunt for smugglers, thieves, and pirates, The Prospect of Whitby is considered one of London’s oldest riverside pubs, and there has been a tavern on the site since 1520.
- The Prospect of Whitby
- 57 Wapping Wall, E1W 3SH
Those found guilty of piracy were once taken to Execution Dock along the Thames for a very public and painful death by hanging. The corpses were then chained to a stake and held in place until three tides had washed over them. The most famous pirate to reach his end at Execution Dock was Captain Kidd who was found guilty of murder and piracy in 1701. His body was tarred and displayed in an iron cage hung over the River Thames as a warning to others. The actual location of Execution Dock is disputed, but a reminder can be found behind the historic Prospect of Whitby Pub in Wapping.
In the News . . . A cunning urban fox recently ate two of the Tower of London’s eight prized ravens donated to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Legend has it, if the ravens at the Tower of London fly away, the White Tower will crumble and the Kingdom of England will fall. Ravens at the Tower became protected during the reign of King Charles II (1649-1651) who decreed that there must always be at least six ravens in the tower to prevent the fall of the monarchy. The recently captured ravens were donated to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and were named ‘Jubilee’ and ‘Gripp’ (after Charles Dicken’s pet raven). A spokeswoman for Historic Royal Palaces said, “Raven deaths at the Tower are not common, with many ravens living long healthy lives here’. (Read more at Mirror.co.uk)
Throughout history many millions of animals have been chosen to serve, and vast numbers of those animals died alongside their armies. From pigeons and dogs to camels and elephants, the memorial is dedicated to all the animals that served, suffered and died alongside the British, Commonwealth and Allied forces in the wars and conflicts of the 20th century. The Animals in War Memorial was unveiled by HRH The Princess Royal in November 2004, the 90th anniversary of the start of World War I.
- Animals in War
- Park Lane, Mayfair, W1
The Hive Honey Shop in Battersea was recently awarded ‘The Best Honey in London’ at the 2013 London Honey Show. Visitors to the award-winning honey shop can choose from over 700 products including fine honeys, beeswax candles, royal jelly, cakes, sweets, and cosmetics. Visitors can also ‘gaze into the secret world of the honey bee’ through a 5-ft high, glass-fronted beehive filled with 20,000 live bees. James Hamill, head beekeeper and owner of The Hive Honey Shop, has had bee-keeping running in his family since the 1920s, and his shop is filled with family heirlooms as well as other bee related items he has collected throughout the years. Look for the ‘world’s largest honey stirrer’ on display as Mr. Hamill attempts to break a new Guinness World Record (www.thisislocallondon.co.uk)
- The Hive Honey Shop
- 93 Northcote Road, SW11 6PL